The Future: Protecting and Preparing
Now let’s consider the future. How is God going to use the Gentiles in Israel’s future? Let me remind you that Israel does have a future. One of my great homiletical heroes is Dr. G Campbell Morgan. I love to read his sermons. In one of his letters, however, he makes what I think is an unfortunate statement. He said, “I see no future for Israel.” That’s interesting. Dr. Morgan died in 1945. If he had just stayed around for a few more years, what a difference it might have made in that letter!
How is God going to use the Gentile nations in the future of Israel? In two ways: First, God is going to use the Gentiles to protect Israel. If we understand Daniel chapter nine at all, one day a world leader will appear who will start solving the world’s problems. Aren’t you sick and tired of assassinations and bombs, hijackings and murders, wars and international disputes? I am! People are afraid to walk out of their front doors. But there will arise a “super-leader” who will start solving the world’s problems.
Jesus said to the Jewish people one day, “I have come in my Father’s name, and ye shall receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye shall receive” (John 5:43). The world leader—Anti-Christ—will sign an agreement with Israel to let them rebuild their temple. God will use the Gentiles to protect the Jews for the rebuilding of their temple and the reestablishing of their worship. As you know, in the midst of that seven-year period, the Man of Sin will break his agreement; and then God will use the Gentile nations to prepare Israel for the coming of the Messiah. Israel will endure a time of trial, “The time of Jacob’s trouble.” “All nations shall be gathered against Jerusalem.” (see Zechariah 14:2)
God will permit the nation of Israel to go through the furnace at the hands of the Gentiles. Anti-Semitism will be at its worst! I think Anti-Semitism is one of the most vicious, godless poisons of the world today. You will find that it creeps into history books and sometimes even into churches.
God will judge the Gentile nations for the way they have treated the Jews. “I will also gather all nations, and bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with (judge them) there for my people and for my heritage Israel” (Joel 3:2). I like that! The Gentiles had better be careful how they treat God’s heritage. See here three different judgments” “whom they have scattered among the nations.” He is going to judge them for persecuting the Jews. This is the first judgment. Number two: “and parted my land.” That’s interesting. God says, “I am going to judge them for the way they have parted my land.” By the way, when people raise the question about whose land it is, the answer is here. . . “my land.” God said so. And then take a look at verse five: “Because ye have taken my silver and my gold and. . . my goodly pleasant things (precious things),” and he goes on to spell out the plundering.
Here, then, are the three great sins of the Gentile nations against the Jews: (1) persecution; (2) partition of the land; and (3) plundering of the wealth. But interestingly enough, during that time of suffering, God will use the Gentiles to prepare Israel for the coming of their Messiah. Then “they shall look upon him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn over him as one mourns over the death of an only child (Zechariah 12:10). . . and a nation shall be born in a day” (Isaiah 66:8). During the first half of that Tribulation period, the gentiles will protect Israel and enable Israel to reestablish her worship. During the last half, they will persecute Israel and prepare Israel for the coming of the Savior.
So, in the past, the Gentiles have punished Israel. In the future, they shall protect Israel and prepare Israel. But what about right now? What is the ministry of the Gentiles today to the nation of Israel?
The Present: Provoking and Providing
Gentiles have a two-fold ministry toward Israel today. First, we have the ministry of provoking the Jews. I have pastured three churches and some of the saints are pretty provoking. But that is not what Paul is talking about in Romans chapter eleven. Let me read it to you: “I say then, have they (the Jews) stumbled that they should fall?” In other words, is this the end? “God forbid: but rather through their fall (the Jews) salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy” (Romans 11:11). If I had lived two thousand years ago, I would have been envious of the Jews. Why? Because of their privileges. “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost. That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are the Israelites”—something to be proud of—“to whom pertaineth the adoption. . .” (Romans 9:1-4). God didn’t choose Greece, Rome or Babylon; He chose Israel.
My wife and I were in the Holy Land and Egypt a couple of years ago. I can’t figure out why the Jews ever wanted to go back to Egypt! No, God didn’t choose Egypt. The adoption was given to Israel (verse 4). Where did God’s glory dwell on the earth? With the Jews. First, in the tabernacle. Then they sinned, and God wrote, “Ichabod: the glory has departed.” Then, the glory dwelt in the temple. Again Israel sinned, and Ezekiel describes the glory leaving the temple. The next time the glory of God came down to earth was in the Person of a Jew: “. . . and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). You see, Israel had the glory. Every nation can boast of some glory, but the Jews had the adoption and the glory of God.
Romans 9:4 says, “. . . and the covenants.” God never came down and sat with the Greek philosophers and said, “I want to give you my covenant.” (“. . . and the giving of the law”—the greatest law ever given; “. . . and the service of God”—the tabernacle, the temple, the altar, the sacrifices; “and the promises.”) What nation has any promises? The Jewish nation is the only nation in the world that was ever given promises.
“Whose are the fathers” (verse 5 ). What a heritage! Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David—and here’s the peak of the mountain—“and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all.” God had said to Abraham that through him all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3). If you had to give one gift which was suitable to everybody in the world, what would you give? Clothing? Well, in some places in the world they don’t wear clothing. Money? In some places, money isn’t even used!
But here is the greatest gift of all, and it came through our Jewish friends: “Christ,” the Messiah, “who is over all. God blessed forever. Amen.” Now, two thousand years ago, I would have been envious of the Jews. I would have looked at my Jewish friends and would have said, “I envy you. Everything that is worthwhile, you have.” But I want you to know something: everything worthwhile, we Christians have. We are God’s adopted people, we Gentiles. . . once alienated from God, once haters of God, but now adopted. We can say, “Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6). I say to my unbelieving Jewish friends, “Everything you used to have, I now have. . . adoption, the glory, right down inside of me!” The Holy Spirit has turned my body into his temple, and I have the glory.
© 2006 Warren W. Wiersbe
© 1989 by The Good News Broadcasting Association, Inc. All rights reserved.
Dr. Warren Wiersbe (1929-2019) was an internationally known Bible teacher, author, and conference speaker. He graduated in 1953 from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. While attending seminary, he was ordained as pastor of Central Baptist Church in 1951 and served until 1957. From September 1957 to 1961, Wiersbe served as Director of The Literature Division for Youth for Christ International. From 1961 to 1971 he pastored Calvary Baptist Church of Covington, Kentucky south of Cincinnati, Ohio. His sermons were broadcast as the “Calvary Hour” on a local Cincinnati radio station. From 1971 to 1978, He served as the pastor of Moody Church in Chicago 1971 to 1978. While at Moody Church he continued in radio ministry. Between August 1979 and March 1982, he wrote bi-weekly for Christianity Today as “Eutychus X”, taught practical theology classes at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and wrote the course material and taught a Doctor of Ministry course at Trinity and Dallas Seminary. In 1980 he transitioned to Back to the Bible radio broadcasting network where he worked until 1990. Dr. Wiersbe became Writer in Residence at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids and Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. In his lifetime, Dr. Wiersbe wrote over 170 books—including the popular Be series, which has sold over four million copies. Dr. Wiersbe was awarded the Gold Medallion Lifetime Achievement by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA).